Live blogging. New for me!

Several students have asked what I mean by … . I told them that if I answered that question I’d be answering an exam question for them. I didn’t say that in real life they wouldn’t have the professor to ask. I did say that when in doubt they should write down what they think the meaning is, and then go with that.

I can see what all the students’ computer screens show. It’s illuminating.

Many students spend a lot of time googling for answers when everything they need to make a straightforward calculation is actually in the exam. So somehow “look it up” has replaced “think about it” in spite of my warning on the first page of the exam that web search isn’t likely to be useful.

Here are some searches I’ve seen, and pages they’ve looked at. I’ve commented on the ones that are reasonable.

- What does an E at the end of a number mean?
- # of pounds per person of beef
- What percent of 18.3 is 1.32 (with the numbers backwards)
- Dole urges repeal of 1993 gas tax (from the NY Times)
- How much mail did the post office deliver in 2009?
- What does per capita mean (this was a good search to make)
- www.math.com what are slope and intercept
- wikipedia what are slope and intercept
- purplemath.com slope/intercept form of line (I think this and the previous two are from the same student)
- “how do you find the y-intercept of a line?”
- current world population (a good search)
- An on line help page on how to draw a regression line in Excel (good search, but I wonder why it was necessary)
- Rule of 70 on wikipedia
- UMass enrollments (a reasonable search for the last problem)
- Reading the New York Times (perhaps to find an article for the take home question?)
- 1% of 12,000 (in google calculator)
- India’s population at About.com (the only numbers needed are on the exam)
- 1.21billion^2 (in google calculator) (It’s interesting that this turns up a link to India’s 1.21 billion population as well as an answer to the (wrong) arithmetic question.)
- India growth 1.6% annually 2030 – this search turns up a relevant web page at businesstoday.intoday.in/story … but of course you don’t need anything there to answer the exam question.
- How do you find the point of intersection between two lines?
- Wikipedia page on the U.S. Postal Service.
- The turnitin web site (for the last problem)

I’ve seen several students who have an Excel spreadsheet open, with a calculator on the screen for their arithmetic.

One good google result: the NY Times has an update on the beef consumption graph that goes through about 2008. I’m curious to see what her answer looks like.

At least one student is constructing his answer to the take home part of the exam (reflections and a news story) right now, on the fly.

Two students done at the two hour mark. Several following them soon after.

A common problem in the regression line exercise: students are starting with line charts rather than with scatter plots. But it looks as if you can still find the regression lines and their point of intersection.

Ten minutes to go and just five students left, so the exam wasn’t too long.

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